The state of Maine to share MacBook, iPad contract with other schools


The U.S. state of Maine plans to make available to other schools its contract for buying students MacBooks and iPads. Although the offer could provide some guidance for educational institutions, perhaps most eye-opening  are the low prices state officials were able to get from an eager Steve Jobs. The contract – originally from 2000 – lets the state pay $217 for an iPad and $273 for a MacBook Air.

Although other states are unlikely to strike a similar bargain with Apple today, the Cupertino, California company has expressed interest in putting its iDevices on the desks of US students…

According to then-Main Gov. Angus King (now in the U.S. Senate), Jobs was so interested in being part of the state’s goal of decreasing the ‘digital divide’ between rich and poor students.

So much so that Jobs “allowed Apple to take a loss on the contract to win it,” according to the NBC Maine affiliate WFMJ.

Maine has zeroed in on five different laptops and tablets as it prepares to replace more than 35,000 Apple laptops in middle schools and about the same number in high schools this fall. The state expects to pay between $217 and $314 annually per unit depending on which device is chosen.

Maine is the only state to provide laptops to public school students statewide.

With the original contract set to expire, in considering a new contract to replace the MacBooks first purchased in 2003, Maine said the contract it’s negotiating for new devices can be used by other states if they’re interested in following suit.

They selected five bids out of sixteen that were offered: four-year leases with annual costs of $217 for an iPad, $273 for the MacBook Air, $254.86 for an HP Probook, $314.28 for an HP ElitePad and $294 for a CTL 2go Classmate PC with swivel screen and stylus.

For years, Apple has had strong ties to education.

However, with the introduction of the iPad, the company has stepped-up its efforts, including offering versions of textbooks designed for tablets.

In February, Apple announced it had sold 8 million iPads to educational institutions worldwide.